Sunday 20 August 2023

Together We Will Go

Finished August 6
Together We Will Go by J. Michael Straczynski

This is a road trip novel with a twist. Mark Antonelli is a man who has tried to make a living as a writer and has been unable to do so. After the last rejection, he decides to use his savings to buy a used tour bus and do a road trip from his home in Florida across the United States, picking up passengers as he goes along, and ending up in San Francisco where they will find a cliff at sunset and drive over. He place an ad online for a short period and gets numerous responses and then removes the ad in case someone tries to trace it. 
He hires a driver, Dylan, who is ex-military, and while he is aware of the plan, does not want to die himself, and won't be taking the final drive. Mark has set up a system on board the bus that people can log into and tell their stories. There is a cloud backup. This is part of the plan, The participants will sign a form giving the rights to their stories, and after the end of the trip the texts will be automatically put on to the public for greater understanding of how people struggle with different issues.
The story is told through these diary-like entries that people make, including some that are voice-to-text, and through emails and texts exchanged between the participants and with a few people not part of this trip. This means that we see both interactions between the characters as well as their pasts that led them to this choice, and their thoughts that they record. 
The characters that join the bus make their choice for a wide variety of reasons, from chronic pain, medical issues that they haven't been able to afford to resolve (because this is the U.S. where healthcare isn't a given), addictions, mental health issues, social issues like being ostracized and bullied, and guilt over past actions. All of the characters feel their issues are significant enough that they don't want to go on, they don't want to continue the struggle, and being aware of their thought processes is quite eye-opening. 
As they go along, they interact with the outside world, and sometimes that has consequences that they haven't prepared themselves for. 
This is a moving story with an unexpected ending. And yes, that cat on the cover does have a meaning.

No comments:

Post a Comment